Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 10 - Travel to Guizhou, Ladybug's Foster Mother

Day 10, Guizhou & Ladybug’s Foster Mother (short version)
~4 a.m. wake-up
~Beijing airpot, cool!
~Fly to Guiyang, Guizhou
~Amazing Sheraton Hotel
~Met the Ladybug's Foster Mother
~Huge bear!
~Lota of hugs

Day 10, Guizhou & Ladybug’s Foster Mother (long version)
Waking up at four o’clock in the morning is not fun at all, but there are some benefits. The best of which is that early in the morning in China, there is absolutely no traffic! Quite a site to see considering all that we have ever seen previously is roads littered with traffic. Without the normal traffic, we made it to the airport very quickly. We arrived at the Beijing airport with plenty of time to spare. The airport itself is incredible. I have never seen such a huge airport in my life. Apparently this airport opened about two years ago, just in time for the Beijing games, and definitely after we traveled through the last time. I only wish that I had more time to linger so that I could have taken some photos of the immense interior.

The flight left a little late and ended up encountering some turbulence, but nothing horrible. The one thing that I will say about air travel in China is that the flight attendants work a whole heck of a lot harder than the flight attendants on U.S. domestic flights. On every Chinese flight we are served drinks twice during the flight as well as one complete meal. The attendants are constantly walking up and down the aisles checking on the passengers. Now, I am the daughter of a flight attendant, who worked back in the day when stewardesses had to be under the age of 32 and single… totally different from what we see presently. Every flight was an opportunity for her to meet new people and learn their names from the flight manifest. She always served drinks and meals to all of the passengers, and took great care to make sure the passengers were comfortable. My oh my how times have changed since then. Flights in China are similar to what air travel used to be in the United States. I am not saying that every flight attendant now goes out of their way to be overly cheerful and helpful, but they are definitely much more accommodating that we are used to in the states. And, on this flight we had some wonderful flight attendants who smiled each time they passed and seem to love their jobs. Definitely makes for a nice atmosphere when you are trapped in a tin-can in the middle of the clouds.

We eventually made it to the airport and met our new guide, Jonathon. He is a really nice guy who was excited to see that we made it here safely. He took us to the hotel, the Sheraton Guiyang. Wow… this is a really nice hotel, and definitely much nicer than the place we stayed at four years ago when we came to get the Ladybug. The Bug skipped her way around the immense entry, checking out each nook and cranny. At one point she squealed with excitement and came running to tell me that there was a “magic” piano that played by itself, without fingers. It was really cute. We made it to our rooms and unpacked and ventured downstairs to wait for the Bug’s foster mother to arrive.

There are certain moments in life that you know are going to profoundly affect you for the rest of your life. The day that the Ladybug was placed in our arms by her Foster Mother (FM) was one of those days. Ever since that day, her FM has held a special place in all of our hearts. We talk about her often, remembering that special day that changed our lives forever. We had always hoped to meet this special woman again, but honestly never thought it would come to pass. However, fate stepped in when we were referred another “Spicy Guizhou Girl,” which meant that we would be returning to Guiyang and could possibly reunite with the Bug’s FM again. Today was also one of those days that forever changed our family.

The FM and two other people walked into the lobby of the hotel shortly after 2 p.m. We immediately knew that it was her, she hasn’t changed at all in four years. The Ladybug ran up to her FM and embraced her. Both were smiling from ear to ear. We eventually made our way over to a small table to talk, through the help of a very nice translator, Richard. The two people accompanying the FM were her 21 year old son and his girlfriend. Both seemed rather shy in the beginning, watching us and the Bug carefully. The FM brought a bunch of presents for the Bug, a HUGE teddy bear (honestly, I don’t know how we are going to get this thing home!), some books, a writing book, and pencil case, and some delicious food. I was also presented with a gorgeous box that contained herbs and roots that can be added to soups.

We all shared stories and photos, and as can be imagined we each took tons of photos of the event. Eventually we took the family to our room to share a video that I had made a few years ago of the Ladybug’s first year of life, a video that includes images and video of the day the FM brought the Bug to us. It was so special to share that moment with them (again), and to reminisce about that special day. The FM shared that after caring for the Ladybug and how close she got to her, she couldn’t foster any other children. It became too difficult for her. She fostered a total of three children over the last few years, all of which were adopted internationally. We are the first family to return and visit with her several years after our adoption.

After visiting for almost two hours we decided to eat an early dinner. The translator chose a nice local restaurant that is within walking distance of the hotel. However, because he needed to take another adoptive family to the civil affairs office, he would not be able to stay with us. So, we would be completely on our own with trying to decipher each other’s words. As it turned out, it really wasn’t a problem.

The dinner itself was wonderful, but some of the dishes definitely held up to the “spicy Guizhou” ideas he had of the area. Wow, were they hot! It was during dinner that we all started feeling much more comfortable with each other. The Ladybug really started warming up to the son, her own Foster Brother. Until today she really didn’t have any other siblings, but she found out that she had a foster brother, and tomorrow she will get a new baby sister. From no siblings to two siblings in less than 24 hours. Quite a big day for a little Ladybug. The son and girlfriend were so sweet throughout the meal. At one point the two of them had a contest of who could eat the most spicy peppers, an event which brought about very red faces and tears in their eyes. We all laughed as we watched the two compete, it was so much fun.

What I was so impressed with was how attentive the FM’s son was to everyone at the table. He made sure that everyone had enough to drink (just to wash down all of that spiciness!), that Nana had a fork when she couldn’t use the chopsticks to eat her rice, and numerous other little things that, with the language difference, we struggled just a bit to do ourselves. Watching how well he treated his mother, his girlfriend, and all of us really made me appreciate even more how lucky we were that the Ladybug was raised by her FM for the first seven months of her life. We are truly blessed. I have known that since the day we got the Bug. But I now truly understand how lucky we really are. This lady is so special, and always will be in our lives.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel to say our goodbyes. I did expect that the goodbyes might be a bit difficult for all of us, but I never thought about how it would deeply affect the Ladybug. In the almost four hours that we spent together, the Bug fell in love all over again with her FM. She didn’t want to let her go and clung to her with a great big bear hug for quite a few minutes. What touched me so much at the end was how the Ladybug’s foster brother also seemed to be smitten with the Bug. He gave her great big hugs, and we said our goodbyes.

I am in awe that we were able to meet with this amazing woman. In my mind she went from being a very special lady for the Ladybug and our family, to being a very special, dear friend. With this meeting we have now become so much closer than I ever imagined, we are now like family. I just feel so blessed.

Tomorrow is a big day… we will be getting a baby Butterfly!



Kelly T said...

Oh Bailey. This has been the most wonderful post. I can't seem to read anything you write without crying through it all. It's truly amazing that you were able to spend that precious time with the Foster family. What a gift from the Lord! It would be a dream come true for us also. We've never met Zoe's FM but have communicated with her each Christmas. The next posting is the one we've ALL been waiting for. Oh how this day will change your lives forever. You're going to be a Mommy of TWO!!!!!!! ;-) I love you!!!!

Courtney said...

What a wonderful reunion. The pictures are precious. I can't wait to see how you are getting that huge bear home!!

Anonymous said...

This was such a marvelous story--and who wouldn't be completely smitten with your daughter???! For all of us whose children weren't about to have a loving and caring foster mom as your daughter did, thanks for sharing your story. It was so heartening to see the story of the Red Thread weaving people together across space, time, and countries!

Happy Family Day #2 tomorrow! Love to your Dragonfly and your Ladybug!


Proud mama to Amelia MeiYun, a fancy and fabulous four year old...
Born PRC

Anonymous said...

what a wonderful reunion! cant wait to meet your baby butterfly

The Straight's said...

WOW! Post brought tears to my eyes remembering my DD foster mother. What a wonderful thing you were able to do bringing them together for this reunion :)

Nancy said...

Oh what a special wonderful blessing of a moment. How wonderful for her to have those people in her life both then and now. The pics say so so much!